Önder Focan started his music career by playing mandolin at the age of 8. He switched to guitar at 15 and concentrated on jazz in the year 1975. Being mainly self-taught, he has become a jazz musician most sought after as a guitarist, player, composer-arranger and lyrics writer.
Focan improved his skills in music and teaching by attending seminars by IAJE (International Association for Jazz Musicians). From 1996 to 1999, he conducted Jazz Ensemble courses at the Istanbul Academy. In 1997, he performed in the Guitar Night that was organized by MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale) with 11 international guitarists representing Istanbul Culture and Arts Fund (IKSV).
Between the years 2001 and 2005, he taught harmony classes at Mujdat Gezen Art Centre where he was elected as the best artist in Western Music in 2000. At Yildiz Technical University, he lectured “Jazz Styles in Analysis” in 2003-2004 and also “Jazz Guitar” in 2006-2007.
Since the year 2002, he has been the art director of Nardis Jazz Club, where he organizes jazz concerts, about 285 shows per year booking local and international artists.
Always valuing and recognizing social responsibility projects, Focan has directed and the coordinated IPMN (Istanbul – Pori Music Networking). This project supported jazz education, enabling young musicians to have experience on stage in both cities, Istanbul and Pori.
He has released 15 CDs. In 1998, featuring the great drummer Bill Stewart and Hammond B3 player Sam Yahel, his album Beneath The Stars honoured him as the first Turkish Jazz musician to have released an album on Blue Note label.
He has participated in 94 Festivals, while 43 have taken place in various cities in Turkey, the other 51 have been in other countries such as the USA, UK, France, Germany, China, Malta, Italy, Brazil, Senegal, Cameroon, Uganda, Mongolia, Argentina, Finland, Australia, Jordan, Hungary, Switzerland, Croatia, and many more.
Önder Focan uses and endorses Peerless Guitars.